Hutchinson makes early impression
Yorkshireman Ian Hutchinson topped the provisional Superbike leaderboard during the opening practice sessions for this year’s TT Races on the Isle of Man last night.
The Englishman clocked up a phenomenally quick time of 128.302mph (17mins:38.66s) on his Padgetts Honda, while Cookstown-based Aussie Cameron Donald (Relentless by TAS Suzuki) finally got to exorcise his TT demons after last year’s season ending practice week crash, with the second fastest time of the night at 127.274mph, just eight seconds slower that Honda man.
Third on the leaderboard was 15 times TT winner John McGuinness with a lap speed of 127.090mph (17mins:48.76s) and fast talking Lincolshireman Guy Martin on Wilson Craig’s Honda and Ballymoney man Adrian Archibald (FB McKee Suzuki) couldn’t be separated with identical lap speeds of 127.56mph (17mins:49.04s).
Completing the Superbike top 10 were Relentless Suzuki’s Bruce Anstey (126.020mph, 17mins:57.83s); McAdoo Kawasaki’s Conor Cummins (125.748mph , 18mins:00.16s); Robinson Honda’s Michael Dunlop (124.397mph, 18mins:11.89s); MSS Colchester Kawasaki’s Ryan Farquhar (123.575mph, 18mins:19.15s) and AIM Suzuki’s Gary Johnson (123.099mph, 18mins:23.41s).
HM Plant Honda debutant Keith Amor cruised to 11th place on his first outing with a time of 122.787mph (18mins:26.21s) and said: “It’s good to be back here on the Island and that first lap I was all big smiles. The bike is awesome but I’m just re-familiarising myself with the circuit and we’ll build on this during the week.”
Fastest man on the night, Ian Hutchinson, was visibly surprised with his super-quick time, saying: “I’ve got there at last with the big bike. It’s a good start for me as this time last year we were miles away. I’m top yeah? Oh good we can build on.”
First man away on the roads in near perfect conditions at 6.34pm was 21-year-old Michael Dunlop, and after setting a standing start lap of 120mph, last year’s Supersport winner upped his pace to top the night’s middleweight leaderboard with a time of 18mins:17.74s (123.96mph) on his Street Sweep Yamaha.
In the Superstock class Dungannon’s Ryan Farquhar forced his KMR ZX-10 Kawasaki to the top of the leaderboard with a lap speed of 126.799mph (17mins:51.21s), with all the usual suspects tucked tightly behind: Michael Dunlop (124.810mph, 18mins:08.28s); Guy Martin [124.582mph, 18mins:10.27s); John McGuinness (124.523mph, — 18mins:10.79s), Ian Hutchinson (123.549mph, 18mins:19.38s) and Conor Cummins (123.456mph, 18mins:20.22s). Former winners at the TT, Michael Rutter, Bruce Anstey, Adrian Archibald and Cameron Donald filled the top 10. Aussie David Johnson was the leading newcomer with a lap speed of 113mph.
Qualifying practice resumes tomorrow night at 6.30pm.